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Sports, Tennis

Djokovic says ‘part of me will leave’ when Nadal quits


By AFP
Published : 28 May 2023 07:42 PM
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Novak Djokovic admitted Saturday that when career-long rival Rafael Nadal retires next year "part of me will be leaving too".

Djokovic shares the all-time men's record of 22 Grand Slam titles with Nadal but can break that tie by winning the French Open for a third time.

Nadal, the 14-time champion in Paris, is sitting out Roland Garros with a hip injury. With his 37th birthday fast approaching, the Spaniard has admitted that 2024 will likely be his final year on tour.

"When he announced that he's going to have his last season of his career, I felt part of me is leaving with him too," said Djokovic.

"It made me think about my career and how long I'm going to play.

"I'm not going to make any announcement today, but just reflecting on it. I felt also a little bit emotional about what he was saying."

Djokovic holds a 30-29 career edge over Nadal but the Spanish star has been the superior force at Roland Garros with eight wins in the pair's 10 meetings.

"I don't like seeing him in the draw of Roland Garros, to be honest," added Djokovic.

"I have had not so much success against him in our head-to-head. I have managed to beat him twice, but I had to leave my heart and my guts out on the court to achieve that."